tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 3, 2013 1:00am-2:00am PST
what's your wish, sergeant for other military families right now who are away from their loved ones? >> the only thing i can even say is -- natural balanced pet foods and army public affairs office have done a great job here. i just realize hope that all the military members that are flied around the world wherever they are that they get to experience what we went there at some point in the future. it truly was a life altering experience. >> you have a lively and very excited son who is having a good time with all of us. let me thank all of you for joining us. i wish all of you an excellent and happy and healthy new year. thanks. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> that's it for all of us tonight. "ac 360" starts right now. tonight.
"ac 360" starts right now. we begin the way anderson always does "keeping them honest" holding people accountable for breaking their promises to you. tonight lawmakers who told tons of millions of people facing damage from superstorm sandy we stand with you and we got your back. two months later massive bills are due and congress has failed to act. though some big name legislators are scrambling to make up for it a lot of badly hurting people are absolutely furious with what today in washington. people who live or once lived in places like this seaside heights, new jersey where entire beach front community were washed away or people who had to bike to walk network or stranded at home after the nation's subway system flooded, people out on long island where hold chunks of the power grid were blown away. a lot of homes as well blown away. hospital patients who were stranded at three major new york
city hospitals when they were shut down. one of those hospitals is still almost completely out of commission. a lot of people hurting. and a very big, big price tag making things worse. storm damage could hit $80 billion nationwide and parts of the bill are coming due any day now. fema's flood insurance program. almost out of money. and faced with that reality the people on one side of this building took action last week working across party lines, republicans and democrats approving a $60 billion relief and recovery package. that was the senate. so all the house had to do was go ahead and vote, just go ahead. hold the vote and go home. they did not. they just went home. the republican controlled house just went home. and people even big name republicans went ballistic. >> there's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims, the house majority and their speaker john boehner.
new york deserves better than the selfishness we saw on display last night. new jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw last night. america deserves better than a government who forgot who they are there to serve and why. new york's governor andrew cuomo and new york's largely democratic delegation slammed the house and so did one of new york's leading republican house members. >> he kept telling me wait until the vote is over, wait until the fiscal cliff vote is over, everything will be taken care of, and then he was gone. he refused to meet with us. he yelled i'm not meeting with you people. he decided to sneak off in the dark of night. >> by day's end, he was singing a different tune, because house speaker john boehner was promising a friday vote on part of the relief package and speedy action on all the rest as well.
our chief congressional correspondent dana bash has more on that. it seems like this was point a to point b, it seemed this was warp speed from no action to some action to hopefully a lot more action. can you walk me through the machinations? >> you played some of the comments from members of congress who were absolutely furious. the key here it was the speaker's fellow republicans they went ballistic. you can almost still feel the walls here shaking, ashley, from how angry they were on the house floor the minute they realized last night the speaker was not going to allow this to come up for a vote in this lame duck congress. so what happened was it became -- it took on a life on its own. and by this afternoon the house speaker and the majority leader had a meeting right down here behind me in his office with members of the new jersey and new york delegation, the republicans and in about 20 minutes it was done. he had it all laid out. he promised them they would have
a vote this friday on a small portion of it, $9 billion and by the first legislative day of the new congress january 15th they will vote on the rest and the same members just like peter king is a perfect example who were really angry surprisingly personal came right out and said you know what? that was a lifetime ago. we'll forgive and forget. not thrilled that it didn't happen but fine waiting two weeks. >> don't know if i got wound up in the fiscal cliff conversation and i forgot about the timing but i was surprised all of a sudden after the vote was over on the fiscal cliff to see that this was a problem and it made me think why has it taken this long to get that to a vote? that's months. >> i think that you just nailed it. the big issue has been that the
focus has been on the fiscal cliff. another issue is that the house and senate members who were putting this together wanted to put it together in an appropriate way, make sure they had everything that they needed, they checked all the box with the governors of the states and representatives here. but you may want to know why did they actually -- why did the speaker decide to do what he did when his number two, eric cantor had promised that there would be a vote. and the reason had to do with the fiscal cliff, ashley. all day long yesterday the speaker was getting an earful from his members that there weren't spending cuts in this fiscal cliff deal. so i'm told by reliable republican sources he simply felt the last thing he could do politically for internal politics was to put a vote on the floor right afterwards with $60 billion in new spending that's not paid for. that's the reason why you heard chris christie in new jersey really getting personal and really talking about palace intrigue and interparty politics because that's what went on. it was just the feeling that it was just too much tumult in a toxic environment when it comes to spending. >> i'm not sure i understand
whether it was displeasing tumult or tumult that would actually jeopardize getting an actual bill. i didn't see that point being maid. if that's what the speaker meant, if that was the merit of his argument for not holding that vote why didn't he say that? >> his aides have been saying that -- or said that this morning. it certainly wasn't telegraphed in a big way. i think probably the truth is, if they would have put it up for a vote it would have passed. it likely would have passed. that's fair to say. maybe along the same party lines or bipartisan vote that we saw with the fiscal cliff. most democrats would and will vote for this. yes there would have been some republican defections, but very likely would have passed. but the question is whether the speaker could have had another vote where there were not that many republican defections. it would not have been politically good for him to do so. >> dana bash putting in a 100-hour work week already.
thank you, my friend. you look great. i don't know how you do it. this is a really turbulent day nonetheless. people are struggling through this. a lot of lawmakers in washington, though, patting themselves on the back tonight. pretty happy with the resolution so to speak but not everybody feels the same way. satisfaction is not unanimous. a lot of people think things have gone wrong. they think the federal response since the storm has hit has been nothing short of a disgrace. in a moment you'll hear from a hard hit resident of staten island, the guy who needs the money, waiting for the money and has
to see this all breaking on the news. first i want to bring in new york senator james sanders jr. by the way, i did one on the job. congratulations. nice of you to come in. you saw how things played out. this is your area that was hit the hardest. are you satisfied with this speedy resolution today and with what we'll see this week and in a couple of weeks? >> satisfied? i'm charging them with being awol, absent without leadership in this case. there's a compact that the american people make and that's if you do right, play by the
rules, pay your taxes, defend the nation, uncle sam will be there when you're in need. they won't leave you out there in the cold. that's not true. 3,000 of my residents are out there in the cold. they haven't had power or light -- >> you still have 3,000 people who don't have electricity? >> 3,000 peek in my district don't have light or power. and the people in washington just don't get it. we don't have that time. these residents did not have a merry christmas. they are not having
a happy new year. they are not doing eggnog and things of that nature. they are trying to stay warm. it's 20 degrees out there. we need to put some heat on d.c. >> so with the resolution that was sort of achieved today, they said they are going to have a vote by friday and then in a couple more weeks they will vote on the rest of the $60 billion package and many lawmakers say it will work that ultimately this will get passed essentially
intact. does that help you at all? >> ultimately those things are good. but right now we're dealing with a life and death situation on the ground. the situation is not resolved. and whatever politics that the majority leader needs to do, let him do it. these are americans. when the northeast can help out every other part of the nation, we should be helped out also. >> i mean that is something chris christie said. i don't know if you heard him. he said my goodness new york and new jersey give more and take less from the federal government when it comes to emergencies, and this is the government turning its back on us in a time of need. do you read into this washington looking at new york/new jersey as a snub or is that going too far? >> i read it that way. i see when it comes to us there's always a problem. let the record show that new york state and new york city give more to the federal government than we get back. not simply in emergencies, in everything.
now with that being said, our moment is now. 60 billion is not enough. however, 60 billion will take it, let's go help people become whole and every day that we don't have these funds puts my residents in a life and death situation. >> at the beginning of this disaster there were all sorts of adjustments to insurance claims, we're going to waive certain policies that won't allow to you get your money in a quick fashion. but you've been on record saying that the insurance companies have are as complicit in this as lawmakers have been. >> they should be investigated. what is happening on the ground out here is nothing less than a disgrace. we're finding out every loophole that the insurance companies can use, they are using it against these people. then fema is hitting everyone and finding ways out also. they are claiming that they are not going to deal with any basement issues or any of these
other things. everyone is passing the buck. my residents, my bosses are being hurt, and we're just not being made whole. >> i know you've been critical about politicians who swooped in for photo-opes, and for viewers who may be thinking you are one of them. you're a victim as well. what happened to your home? >> i had five feet of water in my house. i lost approximately $30,000. my insurance said they are not covering it because it was a flood. fema said they are not covering it because it was in the basement. >> and flood insurers are suggesting that's a structural thing. they're not going to give you insurance for your washing machine. >> flood insurance won't help you because they only cover the structure not your content. so we're becoming experts at the runaround, the bureaucratic runaround only made worse by what's going on in d.c. >> congratulations on your first day. i'm sorry it had to come to
this. quite an active first day. i certainly hope you and your constituents get some aid quickly. >> thank you. >> thank you very much senator sanders. >> keep them honest. >> we'll keep them honest. a short time ago i had a chance to speak with a staten island resident named frank. he was one of those people who decided to ride out the storm and he nearly paid for that decision with his life. that storm destroyed both of his cars. it left his house almost completely inhabitable. he's trying his best however just to live and to live there. to him all of this business in washington is just nothing short of unbelievable. just another example of government playing politics with people's lives. so, it's been a tough day and a lot happened on capitol hill today. the day started off rough but in the end a decision has been made for a vote on friday and another vote in a couple of weeks. is that satisfying to you? >> no, it's really not.
it's a disgrace what they did. it should have never gone two months. >> how is it where you are? tell me a little bit about your home and getting back into your home. >> i was two months living down in the basement. in paid rent, cost me a few thousand dollars. i had to get an apartment for my daughter because she's petrified to come back to this area. i'm almost back in the house. it cost me a lot of money out of my pocket. >> what about your neighbors. are they back? >> very few people on the block. maybe one or two. i'm probably the first one back out of 80 houses. >> wow. >> because the people didn't get paid. they didn't get their flood insurance money yet. and they don't have their own money to fix the house like i fixed my house. >> do you think that when congress is able to get some kind of relief measures your way, do you think your neighborhood can return to the
way it used to be? >> i only can say i hope so. this happened in 1992. and the government and the city never put in sewers here. and, you know, the storm things for the water not to come in. they let it pass. they let 10, 11 years pass again and it happened worse this time. and, you know, i feel that they are not going to do nothing. >> if you had a message that you can deliver personally to lawmakers and then also to people across the country about you and your neighbors and what you've been through and what you're looking forward to, what would that be? >> well, for crying out loud, help us.
you helped katrina in ten days. >> let me ask you this. what do you think the future holds for you and the rest of your staten island neighbors? >> i'm very -- i don't know. i don't know the word to tell you, but i don't know what's going to happen. i think they are going to pacify us again or give us a few more dollars, but they'll never fix the waterway here. last saturday we had a little storm with rain. where i live on the corner, the water was about two, three feet high. we couldn't go in and out with the cars until it receded. so they've been promising to put sewers here and fix this area up for years and they don't do nothing. >> our thoughts are with you and your neighbors. thanks so much for being with us. >> so up next about last night that fiscal cliff bill that congress finally passed? there is something about it that you might not know. billions of dollars in giveaways. giveaways. money going to big businesses and questionable causes that have nothing to do with solving the fiscal cliff.
voting on a tax bill that hauls the country back up the fiscal cliff. >> this is a 15-minute vote. >> and as i'm sure that you've heard by now they waited literally until the 11th hour of the last day before the 112th congress adjourns for good. they labored and they talked and then they balked and talked and labored some more on a bill that makes permanent the bush tax cut force about 98% of all americans, and raises taxes on the rest. everyone from the president on down scrambled for about a nanosecond to make nice. >> i want to thank all the leaders of the house and senate. in particular i want to thank the work that was done by my extraordinary vice president joe biden. as well as leader harry reid, speaker boehner, nancy pelosi, and mitch mcconnell. >> so what would emerge later
were some of the backroom details about what happened in the tense days leading up to the vote. there were ultimatums and poison pills and reports of house speaker john boehner f-bombing the senate majority leader, harry reid, no joke, and political blogs are all over this. but there's another back room angle that's not getting as much coverage. this bill that most people think is about the fiscal cliff is also about calling a shopping cart full of pork. it's like a kettle full of pet projects. pork, pork, pork. lawmakers who barely had the time to pass the bill and who didn't have the time to pass a storm relief bill somehow found the time to extend a series of tax breaks. and now bear in mind that the tax incentives is how government shapes policy there's tax breaks for homeowners, parents with children, charity donor, small businesses you name it but according to taxpayers for common sense some of the items in this bill don't make much common sense. are you ready?
$46 million in 2013 for motor speedways, clearly a benefit for nascar. 199 million in tax breaks f for rum making. that largely benefiting a big liquor conglomerate. $38 million in tax incentives benefiting starkist and other companies doing business in american samoa. they are all in this bill and they got nothing to do with the fiscal cliff, so to speak. joining us now is vice president of taxpayers for common sense. the fact that these lawmakers hemmed and hawed about tax breaks for the rich but didn't seem to raise an eyebrow about the billions of dollars of tax pork in this bill would seem to the lay person as outrageous. are we sure there's nothing m meritorious in what's pork. >> certainly somebody will argue they like this or whatever but to me, you know, this is what feeds voters cynicism about the
process. the talk has been about fiscal cliff, tax rates and cuts about sequestration. stuffed in there are dozens of these tax provisions some that expired a year ago and that they retroactively reinstated. we're looking at $70 billion or more of these expenditures in 2013. >> you know sometimes something that would steam frivolous or like people call it pork or earmarks actually does benefit and stimulate the economy. isn't there something in at least that short list that i gave you that you can see as a benefit? >> certainly it is benefiting somebody but the question really is, is this the best use of the taxpayers' money. these haven't been thoroughly vetted. once i want gets in the system they remain there. i would argue that, yes, having the u.s. virgin islands bankroll a distillery important the world's largest liquor conglomerate so they can move their captain more again operations from puerto rico, another u.s. territory to the virgin islands, yeah, there's
some economic benefit there, but clearly not something a federal taxpayer should be bank rolling. >> when it is pork and when is it something that can actually get votes because clearly especially in the paralysis that we see on capitol hill you got to do something to get the votes. >> well, certainly there's been this talk about log rolling but if you -- >> is that what it's called? logrolling? >> logrolling. you add something in and keep adding it so everybody goes along. the thing is that this got 89 votes in the senate. i mean, how many votes, maybe picked up a handful by putting this in here. in reality is that what we want is have legislators vote against their interest or what they would otherwise do on the fiscal cliff, the big part of this package because some tax break got in there for, you know, for motor scooters? >> what about those larger industries that say they have to have incentives like this in order to stay competitive with companies in china? >> well, there's a lot of reasons why things are
competitive here in the united states. it's not just about the tax breaks, it's about an educated workforce and consistent laws and regulations that's predictable. it's about not having the fear of industrial espionage, and intellectual property theft. but you have to look at this and question is this the best use of the taxpayers' money. everyone has been arguing we need fundamental tax reform, eliminate the loopholes. eliminate the breaks, lower the rates, expand the base. this goes exactly the opposite direction. >> but you got to admit sometimes it's a great sport to attack what seems like silly spending. i remember the big argument over fruit flies and that drew a lot of ire. in the end fruit flies ended up success something saved the researchers money. because the fruit fly dies quicker, the life cycle is quicker, and it saves people
money. so can't you see in the end some of these things that don't appear to be meritorious actually are? >> well, we look very hard at this. we try not to make a joke out of these things because these are serious issues. there is somebody behind this. in reality a lot of this is simply corporate welfare and, yes, there's issues of research in fruit flies as you're saying or one olive fruit fly research we spent money on in france but in reality -- >> that was decades ago. almost a half century ago. >> no, no. that was about six years ago. >> not the paris one. the paris one was back in the '30s, i believe. >> montpelier, france. that's where the usda, department of agriculture research there, they had an olive fruit fly research. but nevertheless the point here is that a lot of this ends up being seems like it makes sense or could make sense but in reality we have to step back. we're a nation $16 trillion in debt. we have a trillion deficit we're running each year. so we have to make sure we're
not just doing the nice to have, the okay to haves, the good to haves but the actual essentials to have. >> steve ellis g to talk to you. thank you for bringing a perspective. we have a lot more happening tonight. a lot of it outside of the beltway. students of sandy hook elementary school are going back to the classroom tomorrow. it's not the same school they'll be going to. they have a new place to learn. we'll tell you all about it. you'll hear from the daughter of the principal who was killed and what she has to say about the next step for the children of sandy hook. that's coming up next. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work. and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early,
20 6-year-old and 67-year-old children were killed in the massacre on december 14th, along with six adults in the school. the sandy hook students will be going to school in a different building. in fact in a different town. it's in monroe. our gary tuckman joins me from monroe, connecticut. how are things going in the preparations for tomorrow? >> well, ashleigh, today the children, the teachers, the administrators that survived the massacre had an orientation at the new school and tomorrow they will be going to the new school and it's very interesting. it's a middle school that is called the chalk hill middle school but it was mothballed a couple of years ago. so it's empty. the sign that says chalk hill on the bottom left-hand corner of the sign now says sandy hook elementary. the school has been changed. it's been retrofitted for the new students. the bathrooms have been made smaller for the smaller children. the desks from the old school have been brought to the new school. same teachers will be there. the idea is for the children to
be as comfortable as possible. but it will be a very emotional day. dawn hochsprung, she was the principal of the school who was killed and beloved by everybody. a short time ago i talked to her daughter erica about the first day of school. she has mixed emotions about it. she's a very nice, kind woman and she's the spitting image of her late mother. >> she will be with them, you know. >> that's a great point. >> yeah. i saw a couple of her staff members and the little pieces they picked up of the doughnuts that she used to bring in and somebody saying we're going miss them and i'm like i'll bring them. she will still be there. >> you were telling me before you have this letter that your mom once wrote you. the signature says yours forever mommy and there's a smiley face and a heart. what did you do because it meant so much to you? >> i got it on my hand so i can always have it with me. >> a tattoo?
>> yeah. >> how are you doing? you look just like her. >> i know. some days it's hard to look in the mirror. but i'm okay. i'm getting there. >> the final thing i want to ask you about, is the scholarship. tell me about that. >> my sister and stepfather and i have set up a scholarship fund in her name through her credit union, the waterbury teacher's federal credit union. it will be going to a high school student pursuing a career in education, hopefully someone like her that has the capacity to fill half of one of her shoes, you know, somebody with a passion to want to teach, you know, somebody who wants to learn. >> how could someone find out about the scholarship. >> we actually set up a memorial fund webpage for her, one of my friends james did that for us. it's the
dawnhochsprungmemorialfund.org. on there you hopefully soon probably within the next day or so can donate directly into the pay pal account that we have set up for her. >> so that's a beautiful memorial to your mother. >> yeah. i'm going be proud of every single kid that walks in those doors because it's a hard, hard thing for them to do. >> will there be some pain in your heart, erica, when you see them going school? >> she should be there. yeah. >> reporter: erica is getting married this july. her mother helped her pick out her wedding dress. ashleigh? >> gary, it's so hard to watch that, but at the same time it seems like she's such a strong girl. i wanted to ask you something else. in the news today, there's a school district in new jersey from k through 12 all of the kids who go to school in this district are going to be met by armed guards at their school. that's a policy there now. it made me wonder what they are
going to do at this new chalk hill school that's taking the students who are affected by the massacre. what kind of security will they face? >> reporter: when you get within a mile of the school there are police cars parked in the streets. there's signs in the neighborhood that says welcome back students but police cars parked all over the area. because of security reasons and sensitivity reasons the news media has agreed not to be at the school tomorrow when the children get back there. but there will be a lot of police, a lot of unspecified security and what we're being guaranteed is there's no safer school in the united states than this particular school. >> gary, thank you for your reporting tonight. gary tuchman live for us. i want to get the latest on some of our other stories that we're following tonight. here is the 360 bull when. >> hillary clinton clinton was released from the new york hospital where she was treated for three days for a blood clot. the state department says doctors are confident she will
make a full recovery and that she's eager to get back to work. more protests in india today where people are outraged over the death of a 23-year-old woman who was beaten and raped by six men on a bus. a group of lawyers in the district where the attack happened say they will not represent any of the accused men and the bar association is asking other lawyers to do the same. look up into the sky in the early morning hours tomorrow for the meteor shower. sky watchers can expect to see 60 to 200 meteors an our in the hours just before dawn. >> for millions of people around the world, the seven-day celebration of kwanzaa just ended. tonight a wisconsin lawmakers, a state lawmaker who launched out an attack on the holiday is getting strong blowback. his claims are pretty incendiary, but he's not backing down. he'll join me ahead.
wisconsin state senator glenn grossman is under fire tonight for his very blunt attack on kwanzaa. a holiday that millions of people around the world hold dear. in a press release titled "why must we still hear about kwanzaa" the republican lawmaker slammed the holiday's creator saying, quote, he was a racist and didn't like the idea that christ died for all of our sins so he felt blacks should have their own holiday hence kwanzaa.
end quote. he went on the say this. quote of course almost no black people today care about kwanzaa just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide americans. mainstream americans must be more outspoken on this issue he continued and said it's time it's slapped down once and for all. the quote continues, be on the lookout if a k through 12 or college teacher tries to tell your children or grandchildren it's a real holay. end quote. well, as you can imagine the senator's message is pretty clear and his remarks have 0 offended a whole lot of people and he's kind enough to join me now live. senator, that's pretty tough language. did you not expect to feel some heat on this one? >> no, because we sent out something like this about 12 years ago and it was really no big deal. i think the underlying problem here is not enough tv types when they talk about kwanzaa talk about the horrible racist
violent past of its founder. and if they knew the past i think kwanzaa would die a quick death. >> you have to remember, ron karenga, the founder of kwanzaa who just founded it in 1966, was a black separatist who felt the black panthers didn't dislike white people enough. the group that he founded wound up shooting a couple of black panthers. he himself for committing physical violence against women had to spend time in prison. i think the idea that our country would celebrate a special holiday created by this guy before he committed these acts of violence and now we're going say oh, we must talk about this to the kindergarten children and how wonderful this holiday is is ridiculous. >> you have to admit, sir, that the holiday itself doesn't celebrate the founder. the holiday itself is actually kind of nice. if you look at its principals, unity, self-determination,
collective work, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. that sounds pretty nice. >> well, i'm sure if you go through the ramblings and some of the worst tyrants in history you can say that they are for peace or unity or hard work or that sort of thing. but when you have such a horrible person who founded this new holiday solely to promote or in part to promote his goofy ideology, i think we'd all have to agree that most americans wouldn't choose to celebrate this holiday. >> what proof do you have that he founded this holiday solely to promote his goofy ideas? these are ideas that i think most americans hold very dear, family, unity, faith, goodwill. >> why don't you google him. you look at anything in the background, things he said at the time. >> i don't get my proof from google. i'm asking for your proof. you're a state senator you should be better than google. >> okay. the proof is the things he said at the time. he didn't like christianity
because, of course, christianity he considered religion for all americans and all people around the world. he felt that blacks should not be part of christianity, have gaming holiday. he was a marxist and he did beat up and physically abuse the women who were his followers. his own followers shot two black panthers. is this the type of guy we want to have as a founder that we're promoting around america? i think if most news anchor types before they did a nice feel-good story about kwanzaa presented what ron karenga was about, it would never get off the ground. >> i'm a news anchor type and i'll put this to you right now. i wanted to get some straight answers out of you and i wanted you to challenge and cnn approached you about this interview and asked you to appear with roland martin who is very passionate about this issue. he wanted to challenge you on this and you refused. you said you didn't want to appear with someone who would defend kwanzaa.
why on earth would you do that? >> that's not true at all. i would happy to appear with someone who defends kwanzaa. you're distorting the comments we had earlier in the day. earlier in the day i said if we're going to have a discussion as to how many black people cared about kwanzaa -- >> before you go on, if we made a mistake, i have roland martin ready to go. will you appear with roland martin right now, because he's dying to get a question in s that okay, sir? >> i would be happy to take a question. >> fire away roland. you got your time. way to go. >> sure. i would ask the senator you look at easter that was derived from a pagan holiday, so do you defend that? you talk about a made up holiday. please tell me which of the holidays we celebrate in america that have descended from on high and were granted to us when we were born, aren't all holidays created made up by someone? >> well, the question first of
all they are not created and made up by somebody but even say a holiday like thanksgiving. >> they aren't? >> which was created by the u.s. congress. thanksgiving is something that i think we all can appreciate. it was not created by somebody out of a desire to separate americans white and black. it was not created out of somebody who had, soon after he created the holiday beaten up his own followers and he had to go to prison for that. >> i asked you about easter. easter is a pagan holiday. it derives from a pagan holiday in europe. >> if you feel christianity is a pagan religion then i suppose you -- >> i'm sorry, senator. i'm a christian. i'm a christian author. my wife is an ordained minister. what i'm saying, is if you look at the origin of easter it was a combination of christianity and also the pagan holiday where people walked around and painted themselves. why do you think we get the painted eggs.
what i'm simply saying, is you're denouncing the holiday because you don't like the individual. all i'm asking if you don't like it fine, but if there are people out there across america who celebrate unity who celebrate purpose, who celebrate faith what's the big deal? if your attack is on him, okay, knock yourself out. but if there are people who appreciate the principles, what's the problem with that? are you saying no unity in america? is that wrong? is that bad? >> no. anybody can celebrate any holiday they want. the problem i have is when they talk about this holiday without giving its history or given the limited amount of time we have in our public schools, when they decide to use that time to promote kwanzaa and present it as a holiday that millions of people ought to be following rather than the -- >> you don't want -- >> let me jump in here, gentlemen. you know, senator, if you suggest that the history is at issue, some of the historical,
you know, ancient roots of kwanzaa have to do with a fruit festival and it just so happens the fruit festival is at the end the year which is right around christmas and new year's. if there's any allegation that kwanzaa was some attempt to divide white and black people in christianity, it would seem that timeline would nullify that argument. and in the same vain i want to ask -- >> do a little bit of research. >> i did. i just gave it to you. that's research. >> specifically to be a holiday that was separate from christmas because he wanted his own holiday. >> he, the person you're referring to said it has nothing to do with christmas it has to do with culture. this issue said almost no black people care about kwanzaa -- one second sir. you said almost no black people care about kwanzaa just white left-wingers. i want to read for you this statement, and i'll quote it ver baiten. kwanzaa strengthens the ties that bind communities across america and around the world and
reflects the great promise and diversity of america. do you remember who said that? >> absolutely i remember it. who was it? >> it was one of the reasons why president bush was an irritating president for some of us. >> was he a left-winger? this is borderline ridiculous. was george w. bush a white left-winger with a comment like that? >> actually, he was a born-again christian, ashleigh. >> some politicians who would try to ingratiate themselves to anybody. that's the way some politicians are. but i think if you look -- >> what's the harm? honestly, i have never seen anyone raise a pitchfork or a fist to celebrate kwanzaa. what's the harm to allow people to celebrate a cultural holiday? >> nobody is preventing anybody from celebrating it. >> you just asked for it to be wiped off. >> we obviously can't wipe it out of every 300 million americans. what we can do is we can say
before it's presented as some special holiday, before the school children of america, we point out the background of the holiday and why it was created. and i think if we do that, it will quickly disappear. >> you know what? i heard people just like him who use similar critiques to say why we shouldn't have a martin luther king, jr. holiday because he was somehow a communist and look even the senator, he chooses to keep his office open on mlk day, if you do the research. i'm curious to him is it okay we celebrate mrk day? can we get your permission? >> sure. there's a big difference. martin luther king is -- >> i'm just checking. >> did you keep your office open on columbus day, senator? >> isn't there a big difference? >> did you keep your office open on that day? columbus day? >> we have our offices open on columbus day. >> some people claim that columbus also and columbus day
is something that we shouldn't observe because a lot of people died. >> well, columbus was the person who founded america kind of on behalf of the eastern hemisphere and -- >> but you forgot his history -- >> i think if you ask a lot of native americans they would be pretty upset about the idea that we celebrate how america ended up being. >> you can't pick and choose. you can't pick and choose. i'm curious. should we celebrate valentine's day? that was created from on high. you're sitting here, making your critique, but -- >> i don't think it was created by someone only 40 years ago who was a violent person and a racist person. >> was columbus violent? >> no, columbus was not a violent man. >> all right. >> columbus wasn't a violent man. okay got you.
>> i have to end it there. >> it's clear you don't study history, sir. >> senator, roland martin thank you for your time. look out valentine's day because cupid had an arrow. thanks to both of you. happy new year. happy new year to all. we got some new numbers on how many background checks the fbi did on gun buyers in december the month of the newtown, connecticut shooting. we'll have more an that in just a moment. >> hi. you know, i can save you 15% today if you open up a charge card account with us. >> you just read my mind. >> announcer: just one little piece of information and they can open bogus accounts, stealing your credit, your money and ruining your reputation. that's why you need lifelock to relentlessly protect what matters most... [beeping...] helping stop crooks before your identity is attacked. and now you can have the most comprehensive identity theft protection available today... lifelock ultimate. so for protection you just can't get anywhere else, get lifelock ultimate. >> i didn't know how serious
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isha is back a 360 news bulletin. the united nations says the death toll in syria has now passed 60,000, even higher than anyone had thought. at least 74 people were killed today in a government air strike on a fuel station outside damascus. that's according to opposition activists. the united nations said deaths have increased from 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 to more than 5,000 per month since july. the fbi performed 2.8 million background checks on people wanting to buy guns in december. a record month that capped a record year. >> avis budget group has agreed to buy the popular urban car sharing service zipcar for $500 million. it plans to use its fleet of rental cars to beef up zipcar on weekends when demand is high. >> and welcome back hanna storm